...that our children can become wise and confident leaders.
Challenge IV students explore the theme of leadership through ancient literature, world history, physics, theology, Latin, and math. In this level, students have many opportunities to take on leadership roles as they lead discussions and work together with feedback and guidance from their mentor/tutor.
Challenge IV is the capstone of the Classical Conversations programs. The program’s vision, deeply saturated with the Christian worldview, provides opportunities for students to exercise mature leadership of themselves and others. The combination of ancient literature, theology, and science creates an intense curriculum. The assignments require analysis from a Christian perspective and help students develop a philosophically integrated worldview.
To purchase your resources for this program, visit the Classical Conversations Bookstore.
In the first semester, students study our “Latin Language and Literature” curriculum, in which they translate the Latin Vulgate and Latin documents such as poetry, the Magna Carta, Newton’s writings. In the second semester, they utilize Henle Fourth Year Latin to translate and study Virgil’s epic poem, The Aeneid. At this point, students are reading Latin right from the original source for content and plot. Being this proficient at Latin unlocks many historical documents to students.
Ancient Greek and Roman poets are the focus of the literature seminars. Students analyze, discuss, and examine epic works through a biblical lens. Students read and discuss The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, and other ancient works.
Students explore Saxon Physics to delve into Newton’s laws, statics, dynamics, thermodynamics, optics, and special relativity. Seminars involve dynamic group problem-solving and discussion of concepts and mathematical applications.
Students begin the year studying the Old Testament and examining passages that point to Christ as the fulfillment and the embodiment of Scripture. In the spring semester, the focus changes to New Testament ideals of faith and the Christian response as reflected in behavior and actions. Students explore, research, and make presentations on related topics in this seminar. Students study What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About by DeRouchie, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias.
Calculus is designed for math, engineering, physics, and business analysis majors. The Saxon Advanced Math text covers all topics normally found in Advanced Placement AB-level calculus programs as well as many topics from a BC-level program. Problem sets contain problems similar to those in AP exams. Numerous applications to physics, chemistry, engineering, and business are also included. Students may work from Saxon Calculus or any other math book of their choice, as the conversation centers around the universal building blocks of pre-calculus and calculus.
World history focuses on various discoveries that have impacted and changed the course of nations. Students read The Discoverers, by Daniel Boorstin, record pertinent facts, and create a timeline to organize the world history in a linear context, if desired adding to the timelines and notebooks they have been compiling in Challenge II and Challenge III. Presentations stretch students to new levels of rhetorical skill.
Challenge IV FAQ
We recommend that Challenge IV students set aside an hour per subject per day during the school day. As with most rigorous curricula, many students will need more time to complete their work. One suggestion is for Challenge IV students to preview the ancient literature during the preceding summer, in order to prepare for the school year.
Challenge IV, like the rest of the Challenge program, includes rigorous academics, so the answer will depend on your student’s time management skills and your family’s other obligations. However, a 2013 survey of Classical Conversations alumni found that over 90% of Challenge alumni had participated in church or community service work; over half had served as political volunteers or missionaries while in high school; and over half had participated in extracurricular activities such as sports or performing arts.
Yes, a student can begin with Challenge IV, but we encourage you to consider carefully before making this decision. Remember that classical education does not follow the modern paradigm of grade levels, but rather considers the child's grasp of fundamental skills of learning. If your child does not have a background in the liberal arts, it may be better to start him at an earlier level (such as Challenge II or III). If your child is going to start in Challenge IV, be aware that this year of study may be tougher for your student than for others who have completed the previous Challenge levels. Your student may have to spend more time studying the basics than his peers do, and he may need more parental guidance and encouragement than he would otherwise.
The goal of classical education is to teach students not just what to learn, but how to learn any subject. The best way to evaluate whether or not a student has mastered the material is to have them explain it someone else. The student becomes the teacher. Asking Challenge IV students to lead seminars, with the tutor's oversight, gives them the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of this final step in learning
This is first full year the students get to practice Latin at a rhetorical level: in other words, they have moved beyond memorization and analysis and into creative application as they translate ancient works directly from Latin. By continuing to study at this level, they gain a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment from having mastered a language like Latin. They will miss this opportunity if they switch to another language now and have to go back to memorizing grammar and vocabulary.
At home, your student can work at their own level of math, but in seminar, one hour a week, it is best for them and their peers to remain together and participate in and contribute to the conversation. Regardless of the math level that a student is studying, he can participate in the seminar conversation about the concept that is being modeled. The concept might be review, it might be exactly where the student is at, or it might be a preview of a concept the student will encounter shortly. Each of these is a beneficial learning experience.
The Classical Conversations program goes beyond basic high school graduation requirements. It was created with college admission standards as a general guide based on state guidelines in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and North Carolina, college admissions requirements for UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Michigan, Princeton, Harvard, Clemson, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech, and guidelines from the Home School Legal Defense Association, as well as SAT and ACT college prep materials. Check with the university system in your state for specific requirements. Students can also get college credit through our CC+ program. Students actually take courses on-line through Bryan College. Our staff has worked with Bryan College to coordinate college courses that add depth to what the students are already studying in Challenge IV and have negotiated special pricing available only to Classical Conversations students.
At Classical Conversations, we believe that the purpose of education is to know God and to make Him known. The families in our program aim to educate their children for heaven, not for Harvard. However, seeking to honor God also means pursuing excellence in education. Classical Conversations graduates have been admitted to more than 200 unique colleges and universities around the United States and in several foreign countries. They have also gone on to pursue internships, gap year programs, careers, and missions, and to serve as volunteers. In a 2013 survey of alumni, 66% had been accepted by EVERY college to which they applied; 0% reported being unable to attend college because their grades or test scores were prohibitively low; and 65% had received financial aid based on merit.